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Budget 2001 Thursday, 8 March, 2001, 09:55 GMT
Budget dominates the papers
Gordon Brown's Budget is warmly received by the papers, with some unexpected changes of opinion.

The chancellor's promises are also an opportunity for humour among the facts and figures.

Cartoonists are given pride of place on several of the front pages as they attempt to sum up the Budget with one striking image.

Mac in the Daily Mail has the chancellor cradling a baby in his arm and singing what the Mail calls "a soothing pre-election lullaby".

The baby's cot is stuffed with bank notes to illustrate what the paper describes as "cash handouts for babies and some young families".

The Mail asserts that "there was little on offer for Middle Britain - but no more punishment either".

In the Daily Express, a smiling Mr Brown pushes a baby in a buggy and showers bank notes left and right.

The Express believes he paved the way for an election victory with "a Budget for families and something for all".

It reports that he won lavish praise from captains of industry and the city for deciding not to slash the standard rate of income tax or to deliver what the Express calls "other reckless pre-election sweeteners".

The Times cartoonist Peter Brookes shows Mr Brown, wearing a Labour rosette, planting a kiss on a baby in a pram as bank notes and coins cascade around them.

The paper says families with children were the main beneficiaries. By last night, observes The Times, "it was impossible to find an MP at Westminster who did not expect an election to be called within weeks".

In the Financial Times, the chancellor - in green Wellington boots - is scattering coins over Britain.

"Yesterday," reports the FT, "Gordon Brown laid the ground for the general election campaign, with a Budget that tried to put something in every voter's pocket".

But to Griffin, in The Mirror, he's Gordon Brown the Gladiator, brandishing a sword and shield and towering above the fallen figure of Conservative leader William Hague and the shadow chancellor Michael Portillo.

The paper declares that Mr Brown "strode into the election arena with a vote-winning Budget".

The Sun plumps for the traditional photograph of the Chancellor in Downing Street, but it still manages to steal the show by printing twelve words on the red case he holds aloft: "It's in the bag, Tony. You might as well call election now".

It describes the Budget as an "astounding achievement" and assures Mr Blair that the paper will support a second term for Labour.

The Guardian believes that Mr Brown has put Labour on course for "a resounding victory" in a spring election with the most generous Budget giveaway since the late 1980s.

According to The Independent, he set the scene for an election on 3 May with a Budget for families.

The Daily Telegraph says he gambled on voters choosing higher spending on schools and hospitals rather than income tax cuts.

It speaks of a cautious "families first" Budget, aimed at securing re-election.

The Daily Star relegates the Budget to pages 8 and 9 in favour of a large photograph of a model called Jordan and a report on the drink-driver jailed for 15 years for killing six people in a crash.


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See also:

01 Mar 01 | Budget 2001
01 Mar 01 | Budget 2001
20 Feb 01 | Business
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